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Jewellery traders strike: CAIT releases white paper, urges PM and FM to intervene
In the wake of indefinite strike by jewellery traders in the country since March 2 against imposition of 1 per cent excise duty, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) released a White Paper at a press conference held at New Delhi alleging that the basic fundamental of levying excise on jewellery trade is untenable since the Union finance minister in his budget speech had announced imposition of excise on manufacturing of gold & diamond whereas jewellery traders are merely the sellers and not the manufacturers.

In Central Excise Act, there is no term like "principle manufacturer" that is defined and as such crafting a new term of principle manufacturer to bring traders into the ambit of excise is much against the provisions of Central Excise Act and thus it's a case of stretching powers to an unreasonable extent-said CAIT. 

In view of the logjam continued since last 26 days, the CAIT appealed both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and finance minister Arun Jaitley for their immediate intervention in the matter and subsequent steps to resolve the issue.

CAIT in a release said the Prime Minister Modi has always talked about empowering small businesses in the Country for ensuring robust growth of economy and participation of small businesses in policy making, the issue of excise on jewellery is an opportunity when a national debate is required on role of trading community in development of nation & economy.

"We are of the confirmed opinion that absence of any policy for retail trade and that of a separate Ministry at the Centre gives leverage to bureaucratic machinery to keep the trading community at toes. It is the right time when a National Trade Policy for Retail Trade and a separate Ministry for Internal Trade should be formed to develop and regulate the retail trade of India," said CAIT.

CAIT Secretary General Mr, Praveen Khandelwal while releasing the White Paper said that unlike other trade where expenditure is done for consumption but in jewellery business it is payment for investment.

"This is the precise reason that when we sell jewelry the profit/surplus earned on its sale is taxed as CAPITAL GAINS and not as income from other sources or business income for as individual under income tax laws which is also a central govt enacted law. Thus taxing jewelry is nothing but taxing investments and under Excise Act, the Government has no power to levy excise on investments. There are many products for investment in the Country but excise has not been levied on any investment product, then why only jewellery is chosen for excise," asked Khandelwal.

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